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What bridge has become

#21 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 14:04

View PostStephen Tu, on 2019-September-08, 10:47, said:



You have to cater your ranges to handle the hands that come up most frequently. On this hand, what advantage did bidding 1S ... 3S ... 4S gain you vs the people who just responded 4S the first round?


First of all, I disagree with bidding 4s as the first bid. The hand has way too much potential to give up on a slam just because they threw in a heart bid. If partner's subsequent 3c bid has values, you still are not out of the slam range. It's become narrower because partner is going to need more specific cards, but it's still there.

If partner can make a 3c bid on anything, either competitive or strong, you are now throwing darts trying to find the right place to play. You might as well bid 4s...except, WOW, partner has values, gets excited and now you are out of the last making contract.

In competitive bidding, it's important to establish who's hand it is. Just because they are both bidding, doesn't mean that it isn't your hand. Of course, they may actually have good hands for their bids and it really is their hand. The reason I think 3c should have values, is you don't know where the auction is going after that. Partner may go for 3n, 5c, 6c. They may bid 3h, 4h and now you are going to wonder about partner's double. A pass does nothing to describe your shape, but does a great job of describing your values. It doesn't say you don't want to compete, it just says you don't have enough to compete NOW. You also give partner room to accurately describe their hand. After 1c-(1h)-1s-(2h)-p-(p)- now partner can safely give up on any idea of slam. Now 2s becomes competitive, 3s invitational and 4s is clearly to play. Partner can double then pull 3c to 3d with minimal hand and bid 3d directly with more. That differentiation is not available if you don't give them the room with 3c. Because 3c elevates the level of the action, you need more to do it.

If you pass and they bid 3h, are you sure that is the right place to play for them? Is letting them play 3h (or 4) "selling out"? Imagine the defense if partner has a stiff club. Club lead, cash the spade A, then clubs maybe forcing partner to ruff so you get their (hopefully) spade K and give you a ruff. They are vulnerable, why go for 110 when 200 may be there.

Anyway, I'm beginning to tire of this. I can see I'm not going to change anyone's mind, so as I said initially, I'll wait for my next windmill to tilt at.
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#22 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 14:55

View PostHardVector, on 2019-September-08, 14:04, said:




Anyway, I'm beginning to tire of this. I can see I'm not going to change anyone's mind, so as I said initially, I'll wait for my next windmill to tilt at.

When one’s views are clearly in a minority, and those who disagree have explanations for their positions, a wise person considers that perhaps he or she is the one who should be changing his or her mind. However, the reality is that most post here in order to seek confirmation of their views rather than to learn. Too bad, but it really is sad to see. BBF isn’t what it used to be, but it is still possible to use it as a learning resource, even if so few do.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#23 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 15:12

View PostStephen Tu, on 2019-September-08, 13:15, said:

No. You are confusing entirely different auctions.
1. By the *opening* side, standard methods.1X-(overcall)-(cue bid overcalled suit).Here, the cue bid 100% promises support and denies in principle unbid major. Why? Because you have available forcing bid (new suit, on this post's auction 1S) and negative doubles to show unbid major. There is no need to overload cue bid to show forcing hands with unbid major because you can simply bid the other major, new suit played as forcing (when not playing "negative free bids"). In subsequent rounds you can then cue bid on some hands to continue to force at lower levels, with your initial bid having indicated long unbid major as the reason to force. This makes it unambiguous between GF hands with other major from GF hands with support for partner only and not the other major.
2. By *overcalling* side, some methods.1X-(overcall)-p-(cue bid of opening suit)Here, the problems are different. This is because in standard methods for most, new suits by advancer are *NON-FORCING* after partner's overcall, as opposed to being standard as forcing by responder after an opening 1 suit bid. This is because the opening bid and partner's lower min for an overcall makes game less likely, and people prioritize bidding on weaker hands catering to getting to the best partial over having lots of forcing calls available to get to game. So auctions like (1S)-2c-(p)-2H are usually played as NF. So therefore when you get a rare forcing heart call, you need to do something stronger than 2H. There are multiple ways to do this. *Some*, but not all people put the forcing call into the cue bid, so then the cue bid does not promise support. After this start they would attempt bid 2S then 3H to show forcing with hearts. But this makes it awkward for partner to say bid 3nt when he wants to if 2S cue bid promised a good club raise. So other people instead use a jump to 3H (1s-2c-p-3h) as the forcing bid with hearts (giving up possible meanings like weak with hearts, or fit showing with hearts), so that they don't have to stuff non-raise hands into the cue bid. Also on some auctions some people use transfer bids (1c-1s-p-2d!) schemes to create ways to take possibly multiple bids with a new suit and a strong hand. (Search web for "Rubens advances" or "transfer advances of overcalls").

It is also possible to agree new suit by advancer of overcall as forcing one round, possibly only at certain levels. But that reduces some of the hands you can safely try to bid on since you will be forcing up a level.


Effectly this bid is on the line of opener. But it is to remind that once time hands with this shape - more weak - used to be bidded with a double jump (1-(1)-3) ending in game or not too ( faced a minimal opener hand) but today, with the splinter useing, the bid level becomes higher (to consider expecially if you are vulnerable).
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#24 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 15:37

View PostLovera, on 2019-September-08, 15:12, said:

Effectly this bid is on the line of opener. But it is to remind that once time hands with this shape - more weak - used to be bidded with a double jump (1-(1)-3) ending in game or not too ( faced a minimal opener hand) but today, with the splinter useing, the bid level becomes higher (to consider expecially if you are vulnerable).

*Without* the intervening 1H overcall, it has become more common to play 1c-p-3s as splinter club raise whereas once it was a weak jump with typically 7 spades. But *with* the 1H overcall, most people play this as retaining the previous meaning (weak jump shift in spades, NF), not splinter. Splinter would be highly unusual interpretation in comp.

But the main point regarding your first query is that all spade hands can behandled by some number of spades (1/2/3/4) on the first round, depending on length and overall strength, with 1 spade possibly being very many spades with slam interest which will cue bid or find other forcing bids on later rounds. None of them need to go into direct cue which allows that to be reserved for good club raise hands.

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#25 User is offline   rhaas 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 18:45

If there's a bidding sequence that shows this kind of hand (a ton of spades but not a lot high-card strength), that sequence should not kill chances of slam. I think 1 followed by 4 or maybe just 4 directly should get the message across, or perhaps you've agreed on some other sequence. Regardless of the details, if partner is sitting over there looking at three aces and I show that kind of hand, he should probably figure out to bid Blackwood. If he hasn't got three aces, it doesn't really matter what else he's got. Even if 3 were forcing in this auction, I don't think it's going to help partner realize the key fact about my hand, which is that I have EIGHT spades.
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#26 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 08:10

View PostStephen Tu, on 2019-September-08, 15:37, said:

*Without* the intervening 1H overcall, it has become more common to play 1c-p-3s as splinter club raise whereas once it was a weak jump with typically 7 spades. But *with* the 1H overcall, most people play this as retaining the previous meaning (weak jump shift in spades, NF), not splinter. Splinter would be highly unusual interpretation in comp.

But the main point regarding your first query is that all spade hands can behandled by some number of spades (1/2/3/4) on the first round, depending on length and overall strength, with 1 spade possibly being very many spades with slam interest which will cue bid or find other forcing bids on later rounds. None of them need to go into direct cue which allows that to be reserved for good club raise hands.



Thank you for clarifying a doubt I had (and this is why I was still going around with that bidding) regarding the use of the "Interdiction Response" (practically the opening partner has a "barrage" opening hand only that he is in answer position) with the (strong) answer of "splinter" which are one complement to that other, confirming that the first can still be used when the bidding is contested while the other in the bidding at two (by doing so they can, for those who use splinters, both be used). Therefore we would thus have a more suitable bid that, having the opener an Ace in spade suit, in this case will lead to game.
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#27 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 08:15

View PostHardVector, on 2019-September-08, 09:31, said:

The title of this is what bridge has become. It has become less of a constructive conversation with your partner to determine what we can make, and more of a get your bid in fast and we'll figure it out later.

It's harder to have constructive auctions in compeitive auctions, and opponents have become more aggressive at interfering. Think about all the times you've been unable to use Drury because RHO overcalled, for instance.

They overcall with garbage because it makes it harder for you to to judge.

#28 User is offline   redtop 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 12:14

It's good to play good/bad 2N to handle these kinds of hands. I would treat this as the "good" hand and bid 3!C, with 5 losers, good clubs, and a useful honor in partner's suit.

Owning the boss suit, I don't see the need to jump to 4!S at E's first turn. Admittedly he has serious negative factors for slam (2 heart losers, the wrong minor-suit holding - reverse the minors and it's MUCH better), but I'm not tremendously worried about being outbid to 5!H. Notice that if the opponents bid to 5!H, partner will likely have a stiff !H and 5!S will make.

But E has a 5-loser hand also and regardless of what the prior auction means, anything short of 4!S would be quite cowardly.
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#29 User is offline   aawk 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 16:10

in the spirit of fast arrival perfect hand to bid 4 over 1 (long not a lot of points). I wonder what other agreements you have for 4.
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#30 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 16:32

Half the time the hand belongs to the opponents. When that's the case, your job is to shout as loud as you safely can to make it as hard as possible for them to have a constructive auction. If you don't do that, you're going to lose. Especially at matchpoints, but also at IMPs.

(I can't imagine playing that 1C-(P)-1S-(2H)-3C promises sound values without some other bid that lets me get to 3C with a subminimum opener. I don't relish losing 6 IMPs, and, at matchpoints, I definitely don't relish being +50 instead of +110, or being -110 instead of -100.)

If you want bridge to go back to pre-competitive days, then there is a solution - increase the part-score bonus to +100, and triple all scores for undertricks. But be careful what you wish for, because, without competitive auctions, the people who will end up doing best are the ones with ridiculously complicated relay systems where every bid except the last one is artificial.
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#31 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 17:01

One last comment on this thread, harking back to the title and main complaint.

I began my bridge in university in about 1973, but became a 'serious' player only in the mid-1990's. I have read a great deal over the years, including having been a subscriber to The Bridge World for decades, and having been given a collection of editions going back to the 1930's, so think I have a pretty fair handle on how the game has changed.

When I was starting to become serious, I go to play with the best player in town: his long-time partner had relocated for work reasons. I played their methods, and style. We didn't travel much, although we did reach the semi-final of Canada's team trials one year.

Our approach was a bit stale by then...it was really not much more than 'expert mid 1970's' in approach.

What had happened was that in NA (I can't speak with much authority on other parts of the world), the happy-go-lucky style of the 1960's experts had been exposed by the more systematic approach of the new wave of players, epitomized by the Aces.

The Aces were, I think, more about discipline and accuracy than any NA team before them. And they won..repeatedly. So in the 1970's expert bridge became mostly about avoiding disaster, and this was accomplished by way of more science in the bidding and more 'discipline'.

But every advance generates a response. As disciplined, and scientific, bidding began to lead to repeated success, some up and coming players reacted...Bergen and Larry Cohen were prominent examples of this, with wild, completely undisciplined preempts....Bergen once opened, in serious competition, on a bad 4 card suit...nobody could blame the opps for not finding their fit, and neither could they double, since double was takeout and they each had too many hearts!

Around that time some players also began espousing EHAA ...every hand an adventure.....with the lack of discipline that suggests.

The focus shifted from avoiding disasters to trying to create disasters for the opponents. When the opponents have the tools and the discipline to consistently get good results if left alone, it behooves the opponents to become ever more aggressive and imaginative in competing.

Back in the late 1970s very few experts would open a 3 bid on a 6 card suit...now it is routine. Back in the 1970's if the opps opened 1N, often still at that time 15+-18 or even 16-18, using Astro was seen as cutting edge.

By the late 1990s we had suction and then psycho-suction, and other wild competitive devices.

Nowadays, I think the truly wild era is over. In part that is because truly wild bidding has lost its shock effect, and good players have learned to double and take the money. In part it is because, on balance, the bridge population has aged, and the older one gets, the more staid one becomes, as a general rule.

So, if one began bridge 40+ years ago, the bidding today may well appear undisciplined, but it really isn't. It's just that the philosophy of bridge has changed...while there is more conservatism now than at, I think, any time in the last 30 years, the modern game is still far more about causing problems for the opps than it was 40 years ago.

Btw, I don't miss the old days at all. I love the 'create problems' style....I just happen to think that style is not the same as discipline. I like to think that my partnerships are reasonably aggressive (one more than the other, of my two current ones) but both are very disciplined.
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#32 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 19:48

Keep in mind, I don't consider myself conservative or afraid. I just think that aggression has it's place and if you don't have the tools available to differentiate when you are messing around and when you are serious, you should be more conservative. As proof of what I'm saying about being conservative, I point to exhibit A: non-vul vs. vul it goes p-p-? with xx xxx Jxxx QTxx I chose to open 3c...because I wanted a club lead. Notice, in this situation there is no ambiguity about us trying for 3n or game or anything else. It is clearly telling partner I'm not really interested in a constructive auction. It's possible that partner jacks it to 5c as a further preempt and I'm prepared to take full responsibility for that disaster.

What I was trying to stress with this thread, was that without the 2n good/bad bid (which I personally like), you put too much stress in making bad 3c bids just because you are afraid of defending 2h. As soon as you are allowed to do that, you and your partner are guessing and flipping coins trying to figure out where to play it. After all, the good/bad 2n bid was developed because the PROS were having a hard time doing it. A little bit of discipline allows you to pass with bad hands and then you can go to town from there.

If you are not willing or able to use modern day tools, you should probably stick to old school solid principals.
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#33 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 20:52

Passing doesn't solve your problems and avoid guessing.
1. When you pass, partner now has to guess whether to balance or not. If you aren't bidding your offensive hands since you want 15+, partner is either going to undercompete some times or overcompete when he balances light and catches you with the more common balanced garbage.
2. Suppose partner doubles and you bid 3C happily, you are counting on partner to balance aggressively since you are passing all these great club hands. Now what does partner do? If you had bid 3c voluntarily, maybe he had a 3nt call. When you bid 3c when kind of forced to, it conveys less information.

3. Suppose opps bid to 3H, partner doubles. Now what? 4C I presume. Again partner doesn't know you have this extra offense, a full 2-3 more tricks expected opposite a small doubleton club relative to what you could hold. If you had bid 3C voluntarily yourself, maybe partner would have known better whether to bid 3nt/4c/double for penalty.
Nobody is really saying bid 3c with 11-18 HCP. The difference is you seem to be saying 3c = maybe ~15-17 hcp, pass = 11-14. We are saying bid 3c with good suits/7+ suits with say ~13-16, a Q lighter and maybe 1 point wider range, and overbid a little with 17+ which will be exceedingly rare. Yes, we will overbid a bit more often than you. But it will often work out OK, sometimes the light game makes when they misdefend, or it's just cold. Sometimes bidding more works as a sac against 3h. When you have shown extra offense, partner can compete as 2-way shot when he is also offensive. And you can sit your partner's penalty doubles more easily if they eventually try 3H since you don't have undisclosed extra offense and club length.

The saying is bridge is a bidder's game, not a passer's game. You are basically saying if not playing GB2nt, "play good-bad 2nt, but the 2nt bid doesn't exist". I'd actually rather give up showing "good" and just FG with 16+ and a good club suit rather than being forced to pass these 14- hands with good club suits. The "GOOD" 3c hands come up a lot, lot, less often then the "bad, but not really so bad" 3c hands. I think I am going to get way more good scores on those hands to be net plus for any slightly better results you get when picking up the better ones.

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#34 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-September-09, 21:15

As someone returning to the game after 30+ years I think that maybe part of the issue is the loss (to most) of rubber bridge which is, from my point of view, a far superior way of learning the game compared to jumping straight into duplicate.

I would also add the trend towards unnecessarily complex systems/coventions, the tendency to tell people that they need classes when they dont even learn the basics, philosophy and ethics. It seems to me that a huge self-interested industry has grown up, mystifying the game, intimidating newcomers, and over-complicating the game. There is an obsession with the technicalities of conventions and the mechanics of the game when greater emphasis could be placed on the ultimate goals (eg part scores, games, and slams; and defence) and encouraging hand evaluation, creativity, risk taking and fun (and the social). Very sad really.

Unfortunately sites such as BridgeBase contribute somewhat to the intimidation when everyone is expected to play an unnecessarily complex convention card - albeit with tooltips (FunBridge at least acknolwedges three different levels). Also those who ask questions on novice/beginner forums are intimidated by more advanced players who seem to have a very strange view of what beginner, noveice, intermediae, advanced and expert (even world class) mean. I suspect most dont have a clue :)
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#35 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2019-September-10, 01:32

View Postthepossum, on 2019-September-09, 21:15, said:

As someone returning to the game after 30+ years I think that maybe part of the issue is the loss (to most) of rubber bridge which is, from my point of view, a far superior way of learning the game compared to jumping straight into duplicate.

Like thePossum, I have fond memories of rubber-bridge, in my youth. High stake games were available. But most clubs had thriving 1d/100 games. At work, we played during the lunch-break. And we could often organize an impromptu game when travelling by train.
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#36 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2019-September-10, 04:55

View Postmaartenxq, on 2019-September-08, 05:53, said:

What about 1- 1 - 4 ?

Bid what you think you can make as old English acol told us.

Maarten Baltussen

I do not mind bidding 1-1-1, but if I could have bid game on the first round, why can't I not do it on the second round?
East does not need a strong hand to make 4. The secondary club honors where all superfluous for game in spades.
But I also agree that there is little merit in bidding 3 as non forcing, fighting a long suit with another one and stopping one trick below game.

As far as a voluntary 3C bid is concerned, there may or may not be a conflict between strong hands and competitive hands, depending on what your other bids mean, including DBL and 2NT.

But assume there is a conflict.

What is more common?
A competitive distributional hand or a hand with substantial extras?

The very fact that opponents are in the bidding does not make it impossible for you to have substantial extras but it makes it definitely even less likely, since you can not hold the HCP your opponents have.
I am very much in favor of showing my distribution as soon as possible when I am minimum, provided I have some. Surpressing long suits is not the way to win at Bridge.
In bidding time is rarely on your side. Get in fast and get out quickly once you have described your hand, but do not pass forcing bids.

Rainer Herrmann
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#37 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2019-September-11, 10:41

Probably E with 1 (..)- 3 wanted to show a hand that showed strength that likewise had counting points with its unbalanced distribution. But in doing so with the bidding made he also indicated a different (and smaller) length in the suit of spades that may have led W to believe that he did not have adequate support in the suit which would not have happened bidding immediatly, with jump, 3 (=7 cards / +) more indicative for this type of hands.
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#38 User is offline   neilkaz 

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Posted 2019-September-11, 12:44

Regardless of what bridge has or will become I prefer a 4 bid with this aceless hand with 2 small H (not good) the first time and think it pathetic to not bid 4 the second time.
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